LCSC men finish a program-best fifth at nationals
SILVIS, Ill. – Tying for the low round of the day, the Lewis-Clark State College men’s golf team enjoyed the program’s best finish at the NAIA Golf Championships by placing fifth in the 72-hole event.
The Warriors, who entered the tournament ranked No. 26 in the NAIA, shot a team score of 287 to climb six spots on the final day. LCSC entered the final 18 holes tied for 11th, but had all five golfers shoot 74 or better to finish in the top 10 at nationals for the first time in school history.
“It was awesome,” Warrior coach Paul Thompson said of the final round. “We were actually under par on the day but we gave up four shots on the last three holes. We missed out on finishing tied for third by only two strokes.”
The Warriors wound up 47-over for the tournament on the par-71 TPC at Deere Run course. Oklahoma Christian ran away with the title at 1,150, 22 shots ahead of runner-up British Columbia. South Carolina Beaufort was at 1,181, Malone was at 1,182, and LCSC finished at 1,183.
LCSC also had its first All-Tournament Team member in senior Connor McCracken of Eagle, Idaho. The three-time Frontier Conference Player of the Year fired a 2-over-par 73 in the final round and finished in a tie for 13th overall and 294. The top 16 finishers in the tournament earned All-Tournament honors.
“That was a goal of his and something that he really wanted,” Thompson said. “He played very well.”
The Warriors stood a surprising second to Oklahoma Christian in the opening round, but slipped into a tie for 12th overall in the second round when weather became a real factor. The first three days were interrupted by rain, lightening and high winds.
Jason Molner, a junior from Longview, Wash., led LCSC with a 1-under-par 70 during Friday’s final round, while both freshman Drew Reinland of College Place, Wash., and Kyler Gable of Hayden, Idaho, has 72s. Tyler Johnson, a junior from Hayden, finished with a 74.
Reinland nearly joined McCracken on the All-Tournament Team as he finished in a tie for 17th overall at 295.
“We just really played well and I’m very pleased with our performance,” Thompson said.
The Warrior men won both the Frontier Conference regular season and tournament titles this year. The team will lose only two seniors in McCracken and Ben House.
Team standings – 1, Oklahoma Christian 293-1150. 2, British Columbia 291-1172. 3, South Carolina Beaufort 301-1181. 4, Malone 287-1182. 5, Lewis-Clark State College 287-1183. 6, Grand View 300-1186. 7, tie, Cumberlands 298-1189 and Johnson & Wales 299-1189. 9, Texas Wesleyan 302-1197. 10, tie, Oklahoma City 305-1199, Lee 309-1199.
Lewis-Clark State College – 13, tie, Connor McCracken 71-74-76-73–294. 17, tie, Drew Reinland 73-82-68-72–295. 24, tie, Jason Molner 72-77-79-70–298, 42, tie, Kyler Gable 77-82-71-72–302. 58, tie, Tyler Johnson 73-81-78-74–306.